Monday, August 19, 2013

Back to School

That familiar school bus is making it's way down Old Prairie Creek Road that winds back to our house. If I come home from shopping 4ish, I get behind the bus. It makes half a dozen stops out our way, not too many kids live out our road. They always look like pack mules carrying backpacks, lunchboxes and jackets! Tired little disheveled bodies pour off the bus and run wildly up their driveways or roads. I was a city kid and never rode the school bus, but our daughters did and complained unmercifully about the torture they endured on the bumpy un-airconditioned buses. There was always a mean driver, or a kid that picked their nose, or just the fact that it came so darn early! I would drive them to the main road where we would wait patiently for the bus to round our curve and stop. We'd listen to the radio and talk. Great talks about friends and feelings, right and wrong, conversations that make Moms and children bond.

It's back to school today for GRANDson Gavin who's an 8th grader in middle school. Next week GRANDson Ewan starts 1st grade, both are feeling like they "know the ropes, I've done this before!" That's part of growing up and gathering up strength as you gather up knowledge! I have a little lump in my throat remembering those years when their Moms were out the door on that first day of school. I know how my daughters feel this morning and I know what's ahead for them for the next 9 months... helping with homework, packing lunches, attending school functions and along the way making memories that will last a lifetime!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Springfield Style Cashew Chicken

I was pinning away the other night on Pinterest, when I came across one of my recipes posted back in 2011 for "Springfield Style" Cashew Chicken. When I grew up in Missouri in the 1960's, there just weren't a lot of Asian restaurants. I can remember the first time I went, my future sister-in-law Terry asked if I'd like to go to lunch. I think I was 14 and other than La Choy in a can, I'd never had Chinese. The restaurant was decorated with black lacquered chairs and tables, white paper screens and lanterns, and a waitstaff that gave 5 star service... it left an impression! When our orders of Cashew chicken arrived at the table, they smelled delicious. Crispy fried chicken pieces smothered in a rich brown sauce and topped with salty cashews, alongside a snowy bowl of purest white steamed rice. From that moment I have loved Asian cuisine!

Leong's closed their doors in 2000, but lucky for you their recipe lives on in many restaurants across the state. When you think of regions of Chinese food, Sichuan, Cantonese or Hunan come to mind... but don't forget to add Springfield Style to the list!

Just click on the title to print the recipe!

1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (per person)
2 eggs per pound of chicken
1/4 cup milk per egg
salt and pepper
peanut oil for frying

2 chicken bouillon cubes per cup of water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
chopped green onions
cashew halves
hot rice for serving

Heat water to boiling and dissolve bouillon cubes. Stir 1/4 cup of broth into cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Stir cornstarch slurry into broth with sugar and oyster sauce. Set aside and let sauce thicken as chicken cooks.

Heat oil to 350-400° in deep pan or fryer. Cut chicken into small pieces, dredge and let stand in flour for 15 minutes. Mix together egg, milk, and salt & pepper. Remove chicken from flour and let stand in egg mixture for 10 minutes. Roll chicken pieces in flour and deep-fry, in batches if need be, until golden. Drain well on paper towels and keep warm in covered pan in 200° oven.

Serve chicken over hot rice, topped with sauce, cashews, and chopped green onions. Pass soy sauce at table.
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